All things random and shiny
In his novel Frameshift, Robert J. Sawyer tells the story of a couple tricked into carrying a neanderthal child by a somewhat overly enthusiastic geneticist colleague. I loved this book when I read it, and never really thought about that particular issue again.
Over at The Mary Sue they link to an interview in Der Spiegel with geneticist George Church, about the possibility of cloning Neanderthals. Church thinks that cloning Neanderthals will soon be possible and all we’ll need are some brave women to carry the little clones to term. No trickery necessary!
The majority of the comments at The Mary Sue are negative. And yes, the ethics of something like this are pretty dicey. What does it say about me that my first thought was, “I’m in!” (although it was followed closely by the realisation that I’m waaaay too old for that sort of thing, and also in the wrong country)?
The Speigel article does make it sound all kind of evil-geniusy, and I get that. But Germany and eugenics have a history, so they get a bit funny about that sort of thing. In any case, there’s also an article in Business Week that takes a lighter approach and makes the whole scenario sound like the latest designer dog craze. Once one couple has a Neanderthal baby, everyone will want one!
You know you want one.
They do have a point that once something is possible, we humans often do it just because it *is* possible, consequences be damned. So, little Neanderthals will be running around your neighbourhood. Sooner than you think.
I find myself saying this more often lately, but it bears repeating: